[ RadSafe ] No radioactivity detected from Japanese nuclear waste plant worker

Sandy Perle sandyfl at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 10 11:25:47 CDT 2006


No radioactivity detected from Japanese nuclear waste plant worker
Scientists Rebuilding Nation's Oldest Nukes
Czech nuclear reactor taken off the grid

No radioactivity detected from Japanese nuclear waste plant worker 
exposed to radiation

TOKYO (AP) Jun 29 - A Japanese nuclear fuel company said Thursday 
that no radioactivity has been detected from a worker exposed to a 
small amount of radiation last week at a nuclear waste processing 
plant. No radiation leaked outside the plant.

The 19-year-old man received a small dose of radiation inside his 
nose while inspecting solid fuel - a mixture of uranium and plutonium 
- at a spent fuel recycling plant in northern Japan on June 24, said 
Kimihiko Ito, a spokesman of the Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. The worker 
did not wear a protective mask at the time of his work, Ito said.

Exposure to plutonium can trigger cancer.

Company officials conducted a round of checks on urine and stool 
samples taken from the worker since, but no radioactive material was 
detected, Ito said, adding more tests are planned.

The Rokkaisho reprocessing plant began test operations on March 31 
after a delay caused by a leak of radioactive water in 2002 and 
strident public opposition. The plant eventually is to produce MOX 
fuel, a uranium-plutonium mixture.

The fuel is a central element of Japan's plans to cut its dependence 
on energy imports by building so-called fast-breeder reactors, which 
produce plutonium that can then be reused as fuel. The plant is about 
600 kilometers (372 miles) north of Tokyo.

Japan, which relies on nuclear plants for a third of its energy 
needs, aims to raise that to about 40 percent by 2010.

Scientists Rebuilding Nation's Oldest Nukes

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. AP (July 4) - Los Alamos National Laboratory 
scientists have helped a federal defense agency refurbish its first 
B61 nuclear bomb, part of the country's effort to certify its nuclear-
weapons supply without underground nuclear testing.

The National Nuclear Security Administration's so-called Life 
Extension Program involves scientists and engineers from around the 
country opening up the bombs, then refurbishing them with new parts 
to make sure they still work and last longer.

"Our nuclear weapons were never intended to last this long, and they 
were not designed to be taken apart, so it is a credit to our 
scientists and engineers across the complex who have come together to 
deliver this unit on time," said Tom D'Agostino, NNSA's deputy 
administrator for defense programs.

D'Agostino compared the program to rebuilding a 30-year-old car with 
a new carburetor and timing belt so it will last longer. Agency 
officials said the program should make the B61 last another 20 years.

First produced in the 1960s, the B61 is the oldest weapon in the 
nation's nuclear stockpile.

The refurbishing program began in the late 1990s, D'Agostino said, 
and is expected to be complete by 2009. The total cost is about $470 
million, though he didn't specify how many bombs will be refurbished.

"It demonstrates an exercising of the nuclear-weapons complex in a 
manner that hasn't been done in a fairly long period of time," 
D'Agostino said.

He stressed this is not a new nuclear weapon. The agency said the 
country hasn't produced any new nuclear weapons since the end of the 
Cold War.

The NNSA also refurbished the W87 weapon through the Life Extension 
Program, D'Agostino said. Last week, agency director Linton Brooks 
announced the country's last W56 warhead had been dismantled.

Czech nuclear reactor taken off the grid

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) Jul 10 - An air system malfunction forced 
the second unit of the Czech nuclear power plant to be disconnected 
from the grid on Monday, an official said.

A spokesman for the Temelin nuclear plant, Milan Nebesar, said the 
reactor was taken off the grid in the afternoon, and its output will 
gradually be reduced to about 2 percent until the system was 

He said the fault was in the electrical part of the reactors' 
secondary unit and posed no threat to nuclear security. He could not 
immediately say how long the repairs would take.

The plant's first unit has been off the grid since June due to annual 
refueling, he said.

Construction of the plant's two 1,000-megawatt units, based on 
Russian designs, started in the 1980s. The reactors later were 
upgraded with U.S. technology, but they have remained controversial 
because of frequent malfunctions.

The station, 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of the Austrian border, 
has been a source of friction between the two countries. 
Environmentalists in Austria demand it be closed, while Czech 
authorities insist it is safe.

Sandy Perle
Senior Vice President, Technical Operations
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc.
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614 

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714  Extension 2306
Fax:(949) 296-1144

E-Mail: sperle at dosimetry.com
E-Mail: sandyfl at earthlink.net 

Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/ 
Personal Website: http://sandy-travels.com/ 

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